Leica M3 black paint, 1959

Leica M3 black paint, 1959
Leica M3 black paint, 1959 — Photo credit: © WestLicht Photographica

Often press photographers attach particular importance to an inconspicuous, unobtrusive Leica camera. Instead of shiny silver chrome plating, this version of the Leica M3 is finished in satin matte black paint. Today the black paint versions of the early Leica M models are sought-after collector items because of their limited production quantities. While the total production of the Leica M3 reached almost a quarter of a million units, only 1,410 cameras were originally prepared in black paint finish. The lacquer was by far not as resistant as chrome plating. Furthermore, the professional journalists usually were not overly careful when using their cameras. Thus well-preserved examples in fine original condition are very difficult to find.